This little fellow was wandering forlornly around our house and garden last weekend. He had apparently been booted out of the noisy nest of herons across the creek. Since he seemed to be unable to make a sound, we joked that he was mute and had left home to escape his boisterous pterodactyl relatives. He was a gawky little baby who walked really slowly and could only fly a few feet at a time. He kept looking up into the trees to figure out where to roost for the night. My husband even had to herd him away from the road as he drifted aimlessly.
A couple days later when this picture was taken, he had taken refuge on the deck. It's a pretty amazing sight when a wild bird is sitting docilely right outside your back door. We didn't see him again for several days, until one morning, he was there-- in the marsh, striding along (sort of) with a fish in his beak! We knew it was him because he was so radiantly light colored and small compared to the usual herons who frequent our little bay. And he was having trouble swallowing the fish, just something our boy would do. We were lucky enough to witness his first attempts at learning how to do heron things--and the story has a happy ending.